Yesterday the Amazon drone dropped off a book I have been waiting for with great anticipation.  It’s called Crackup, The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics, and the author is a friend of mine whom I have known since the 1970’s named Sam Popkin, who has been thinking, teaching, and writing about contemporary politics at UCSD for the last fifty years.

In looking at the changes in politics leading up to 2016, Sam makes the point that it was during the first Bush administration that the ideological underpinning of the GOP’s effort changed from ‘liberty’ to ‘freedom,’ the former implying the existence of rules which checked behavior, the latter implying that government needed to stay out of the way, if not disappear altogether.

I’m not sure how and why this change took place, I suspect it was to some degree a function of the growing importance of the Religious Right, but it certainly is most pronounced today in the narratives put out there by Gun-nut Nation to explain and justify their adoration of guns.  Here’s the latest example of this crap.

Remember that idiot in St. Louis who stood on the front steps of his house and pointed an AR-15 at a bunch of BLM demonstrators last year? What was this guy thinking, if indeed he has ever had a rational thought swirl around inside his head? Did he think that the demonstrators were going to burn his house down when they were surrounded by an escort comprised of St. Louis cops?

But when you’re a member of Gun-nut Nation, particularly that segment of Gun-nut Nation which really believes that the only good guy is a guy walking around with a gun (or standing on his front steps with a gun), then ‘freedom’ is what it’s all about. And what we know for a fact is that the moment government gets involved in community safety, the first thing the government will do is take away your guns.

Missouri happens to have a Stand Your Ground (SYG) law, which lets you defend your person and property with a gun. The state also abolished pre-purchase licensing of handguns to make it easier for you to buy and use a handgun to help law and order, which is what all members of Gun-nut Nation believe they should do.

The jerk who threatened to use his assault rifle to keep those BLM ‘rioters’ from destroying his home has become something of a folk hero among the community which believes that guns keep us ‘free.’ He gave a speech at the Republican National convention, he’s now running for U.S. Senate, an activity he announced on Tucker Carlson – where else? He’s even been told by the idiot Governor of Missouri that he will be pardoned if he’s convicted of a felony for threatening the lives of the BLM marchers with his gun.

Of course, the moron with his assault rifle needs to be ‘free’ in order to protect himself with his gun. His first campaign ad states that “an angry mob marched to destroy my home and kill my family.” Which if what he said was even remotely close to being true, he could have not been charged with a felony thanks to Missouri’s SYG law.

What he said wasn’t true but since when does truth have anything necessarily to do with what either side says about guns?  On the one hand, we have guys like this St. Louis asshole who stands there, waving around his gun; on the other hand, we have folks in Gun-control Nation who just as fervently believe that Grandpa’s old shotgun rusting in the basement represents a threat to community health.

What I found very informative and useful about Sam Popkin’s book is how he explores and explains the shift in how and why the GOP seems to have lost its way from being a middle-right political party to being a haven for the alt-right. Which also happens to be what may happen to Gun-nut Nation, given the possible collapse of the NRA.

And don’t forget to buy and read Sam Popkin’s book: Crackup: The Republican Implosion and the Future of Presidential Politics: Popkin, Samuel L.: 9780190913823: Books